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Licensing Information

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Who Should be Licensed?

Under the Texas Engineering Practice Act, only duly licensed persons may legally perform, or offer to perform engineering services for the public. Furthermore, public works must be designed and constructed under the direct supervision of a licensed professional engineer. The terms "engineer" or "professional engineer" can only be used by persons who are currently licensed. Anyone who violates these parameters is subject to legal penalties.

To be eligible for a professional engineering license, engineers must have achieved certain professional milestones. They must have earned an engineering education, performed certain levels of engineering work experience, and passed specific examinations. Although some of these milestones are quite specific, there are limitless combinations of education, experience, and examinations that the Board can consider acceptable for a license. Each engineer's application will be considered on an individual basis, but will be categorized according to the chart below. The chart is a very simplified summary; refer to the Board Rules for more detail.

 

Type of Education

Experience Requirement

Examination Requirement

Reference Requirement

Accredited degree group; applies under Section 1001.302(a)(1)(A) of the Act

Accredited engineering degree (usually bachelor's)

4 years

Must pass FE, PE and ethics exams; may be eligible for waiver of FE exam with additional experience.
See Board Rule 133.69.

Three (3) references are required, all must be currently licensed P.E.'s.  If requesting exam waiver, then five (5) references are required from currently licensed P.E.'s. The P.E. references not licensed in Texas must provide a copy of their current pocket card to verify licensure.

Accredited degree group; applies under Section 1001.302(a)(1)(A) of the Act

Accredited engineering degree and MS or PhD in engineering from an accredited degree program

3 years for MS or PhD only; 2 years for MS and PhD

Must pass FE, PE and ethics exams; may be eligible for waiver of FE exam with additional experience.
See Board Rule 133.69.

Three (3) references are required, all must be currently licensed P.E.'s.  If requesting exam waiver, then five (5) references are required from currently licensed P.E.'s. The P.E. references not licensed in Texas must provide a copy of their current pocket card to verify licensure.

PhD Engineering Educator group; applies under Section 1001.302(a)(1)(A) of the Act

ABET Accredited PhD in engineering

3 years for MS or PhD only; 2 years for MS and PhD

Must pass FE, PE and ethics exams; may be eligible for waiver of FE and PE exam with additional experience.
See Board Rule 133.69.

Three (3) references are required, all must be currently licensed P.E.'s.  If requesting exam waiver, then five (5) references are required from currently licensed P.E.'s. The P.E. references not licensed in Texas must provide a copy of their current pocket card to verify licensure.

Accredited degree group; applies under Section 1001.302(a)(1)(A) of the Act

Non-accredited undergraduate engineering degree and an MS or PhD from an engineering program accredited at any level

3 years

Must pass FE, PE and ethics exams; may be eligible for waiver of FE exam with additional experience.
See Board Rule 133.69.

Three (3) references are required, all must be currently licensed P.E.'s.  If requesting exam waiver, then five (5) references are required from currently licensed P.E.'s. The P.E. references not licensed in Texas must provide a copy of their current pocket card to verify licensure.

Non-accredited degree group; applies under Section 1001.302(a)(1)(B) of the Act

Non-accredited engineering degree or related science degree

8 years

Must pass FE, PE and ethics exams; may be eligible for waiver of FE exam with additional experience.
See Board Rule133.69.

Three (3) references are required, all must be currently licensed P.E.'s.  If requesting exam waiver, then five (5) references are required from currently licensed P.E.'s. The P.E. references not licensed in Texas must provide a copy of their current pocket card to verify licensure.

Non-accredited degree group; applies under Section 1001.302(a)(1)(B) of the Act

Non-accredited engineering degree or related science degree and any other advanced degree not from an engineering program accredited at any level

8 years

Must pass FE, PE and ethics exams; may be eligible for waiver of FE exam with additional experience.
See Board Rule 133.69.

Three (3) references are required, all must be currently licensed P.E.'s.  If requesting exam waiver, then five (5) references are required from currently licensed P.E.'s. The P.E. references not licensed in Texas must provide a copy of their current pocket card to verify licensure.

 

No Degree

Cannot be licensed

Cannot be licensed
See Board Rule 133.31.

Cannot be licensed

Purpose & History

The Engineering Registration Act (Article 3271a, V.A.T.S.) was enacted as the result of a tragic school explosion at New London, Texas, in 1937. In response to concerns that the public could not identify who was qualified to practice engineering, the 45th Texas Legislature passed the Act as emergency legislation and it became law when signed by the Governor on May 28, 1937. The 59th Texas Legislature rewrote the original Registration Act. This Act became law on August 30, 1965, and was called the "Texas Engineering Practice Act."

The authors of the Texas Engineering Practice Act included the following statement in Section 1001.004 of the Act:

" The legislature recognizes the vital impact that the rapid advance of knowledge of the mathematical, physical, and engineering sciences as applied in the practice of engineering has on the lives, property, economy, and security of state residents and the national defense. The purpose of this chapter is to: protect the public health, safety, and welfare; enable the state and the public to identify persons authorized to practice engineering in this state; and fix responsibility for work done or services or acts performed in the practice of engineering. The legislature intends that: the privilege of practicing engineering be entrusted only to a person licensed and practicing under this chapter; only a person licensed under this chapter may: engage in the practice of engineering; be represented in any way as any kind of "engineer"; or make any professional use of the term "engineer"; and this chapter will be strictly complied with and enforced. This chapter shall be liberally construed to carry out the intent of the legislature."

It therefore becomes apparent that this legislation was not enacted to restrict the number of practitioners, but rather to "safeguard life, health, and property and protect the public welfare."

The Texas Board of Professional Engineers is authorized and required to license those individuals who are qualified by law to practice engineering, and to regulate the practice of engineering in Texas. To accomplish this mission, the Legislature further empowered the Board to make and enforce the rules dealing with licensing, compliance and enforcement, and standards of conduct and ethics.